Albany unable to pass full budget; Cuomo to sign extender deal

“After Assembly and Senate leaders were unable to strike a deal on key issues such as Raise the Age or education funding, lawmakers upstate passed an “extender budget,” which allows state police officers, teachers and more to continue getting paid while the Legislature continues to hammer out a permanent deal.

State lawmakers, however, will not receive a paycheck until they pass a finalized budget, which the law calls for by April 1.

The extender budget prevents a state government shutdown through May 31.

The deal was approved Monday evening.

While the main purpose of the temporary budget is to fund state agencies, the stopgap measure does include some money that will find its way to Queens, including $270 million in capital funding for the replacement of the Koscuiuszko Bridge.

Cuomo issued a statement Sunday in which he partially blamed the full budget’s delay on threat of cuts from the federal government and the “inability of both houses to reach an agreement.”

State lawmakers were supposed to pass a budget by March 31 but were unable to do so as they continued debating “Raise the Age” — which makes the age of criminal responsibility 18 from 16 so younger teens are not in prison with adults. The issue was considered a sticking point in the negotiations with the Republican-held Senate objecting to it.

In his statement, the governor said the change must be included in the final, permanent budget.

“On issues such as Raise the Age, there are political and ideological differences between the Senate and Assembly. We must resolve these issues,” he said. “A complete budget requires it.”

State Sens. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), members of the Independent Democratic Conference, both echoed Cuomo’s sentiment on the issue.

“I voted on this extender to ensure that emergency responders, teachers, highway construction projects, and other government provided services that are so important to our daily lives can continue without interruption and so that the entire state can continue its daily operations while us legislators continue to hammer out a deal,” Avella said. “Any budget that leaves out Raise the Age is a non-starter.”

Peralta said, “As this process unfolds, I will continue to fight hard for progressive issues, such as Raise the Age and the proper funding of our public schools.”

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said, “The mere existence of a necessary budget extender is evidence of a flawed budget process for our state.”

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach) highlighted the  “bright spots” in the deal, including, “increased funding for home health care aides and crucial upgrades to I878.”The I-878 is the Nassau Expressway.

“These are wins to celebrate. But there’s a lot more work to do,” Pheffer Amato added. “We’ll be working day in and day out to make sure we come up with a compromise that’s fair, transparent and fully funds our vital services.”

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